Definition of a Cult

By definition, a cult is a group or sect bound together by adoration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
A cult promises you redemption. It tells you that if you do what it says, and as it believes, you will be protected from the evil people that are out to get you and the rest of society.
A cult purges the non-believers. And it actively tries to vilify all those who are not part of the cult, saying that they're doomed and destined to go to hell.

8 comments:

rahltamara said...

Thank you for posting this. I was raised in "The Body" and have family member still involved and willing to fiercely defend it's origins and beliefs to the point that is have damaged our relationship. Growing up I was a victim of spiritual, physical, and emotional abuse often at the hands of the "spiritual leaders" though none were mentioned in your research. I know some children, I was fortunate to not be among them, did experience sexual abuse at the hands of at least one "elder" that remains in the church. It was exposed, but never reported to police and covered up within the church. I still struggle with the teachings and bizarre behavior that was so prevalent during my childhood. Your blog helped a lot. Since leaving the church several years ago after I was really given no choice since I chose to marry a man outside of the church I have known that something was not right - this has helped open my eyes. I struggle to this day (I'm in my thirties) to fight the false beliefs and have a relationship with God. I'll keep striving because I know healing is possible. I don't know if you read these posts, but if you do - thank you.

hotskoz said...

I check these from time to time but not real often. I appreciate your comments and the "leaders" you refer to are not mentioned by name but are really part of the story.

Anonymous said...

Question. I've met a few of these people, including Gilbert Larson. I'm curious, because they won't outright tell me - does this denomination subscribe to the oneness doctrine?

Scott said...

If by "oneness doctrine" you mean one God manifesting in three ways, Father, Son and Holy Spirit I suppose they do. Baptism is done specifically in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but I can't really attest to anyone really ever speaking of a "oneness doctrine". God is taught as singular and comprised of the God the Father, Jesus as son, the fleshly manifestation of God on earth but also existing prior to appearance on earth and the Holy Spirit being the Spirit of God with seven attributes. But they are all God singular. I can't really say that one or three was ever a topic of contention in the ABC though so nothing was ever really emphasized either way. My dad came out of the Pentecostal church and the "oneness doctrine" stemmed from there as well so undoubtedly it influenced his teaching. As for me...I can only say that God is much too big an equation for me to definitively state I understand. So...if God is one entity with three attributes or three separate entities constructing a triune Godhead there is insufficient evidence to be adamant either way. It is easy to get stuck on and defend a particular outlook on a doctrine that makes the mind and soul rigid so I just accept God for being God...one or three. I need not understand God completely to know that God exists nor do I think man really has the capacity to understand...even though he tries.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Baptisms are only in Jesus name in this group... Well what was said to me was: "You're not saved because you have not been baptized right. Therefore you cannot fellowship with us because you'll be eating and drinking to your own damnation." I thought well wait a minute - this was said to me without any of them knowing how I even got baptized.

Kinda made feel weird and like I couldn't touch their level of Christianity. After giving them my testimony of Jesus Christ they made it seem like I had come to faith all wrong because it wasn't done their way... Instead of giving me basic beliefs, I feel like they just wanted to pile drive my brain with Greek, I think they did this in light of the fact that I had bible knowledge.

Scott said...

Anonymous--You hit on a very valid point about the ABC. Baptism (and subsequent admission into “fellowship” with the ABC) is defined so narrowly that only those who come to the ABC, and are baptized by they themselves, and according to specific and ever more restrictive tenets, are considered admitted into their kingdom. The viewpoint really relates to them believing they have specific ownership of the door to salvation and a franchise on salvation itself. It is an egotistical view that clouds their vision of truth. They say they have “the keys” but the “keys” they possess can only be seen when viewed through the scope of the books upon books they rely on. Without these books these “keys” are ephemeral and cannot be found.
Consider this point. All of the books we use today in Christianity, including the compendium of ancient letters and other writings eventually labeled “The Bible” (circa 1400’s) are fairly modern books and are only in massive distribution to the masses because of Gutenberg and his press. That is not to disparage these ancient writings themselves, as they are of great value, but one must understand that in the days of Jesus, and for nearly a millennium and a half after, there was strictly an oral tradition that was spread from person to person, not a book based tradition that could be parsed and studied ad nauseum to the exclusion of many. Although even with the oral traditions we see that there were many arguments over words as well. (They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 1 Ti. 6) Any study of the scriptures in Jesus day was done only by the priests, or the few who could read and/or afford personal scrolls, and Bible studies as we know them today (especially the pile driving of Greek words as you state) would have been impossible. Not for another fifteen hundred years would the tools be created to “study” the Bible and it was only approximately six hundred years ago that the letters and writings were compounded into a single book called the Bible that could be split into chapter and verse to be studied. There was no Young’s, Strongs, Vine’s, Nestle’s, Panin’s and certainly not the Greek book by John Stegenga around to help one find the door or keys to salvation. (continued)

Scott said...

continued--The Greek-English Analytical Concordance of the Greek-English New Testament by John Stegenga to which you refer about “pile driving” was produced in only one official printing of just 2000 copies in 1963. These books that aid in “Bible study” have all been formatted by very modern men and have been used to slice what were once simple truths into complex factions. Jesus left no writings for us to study. None! He left some simple principles that are not grievous to be born and are not weighty to one’s soul. Bruce Leonard once stated to me that without the Stegenga Greek Concordance salvation could not be found. To this I replied that he had just sentenced to eternal death the nearly two thousand years of living souls and many generations of those that preceded John Stegenga and had no benefit of his book . He became angry at my words and this was likely one of the things on his list of the “charges” against me. I stand by my statement because the notion that Stegenga is the one who defines salvation it is preposterous and I find the book to be of little value.
The first writings that over one thousand years later became the first books of the New Testament were not written until well over one-hundred years after the time of Jesus. The rest of the letters came after. Man has been trying to further and further define these writings to find an even better truth but in the process has form cliques and specific religious borders leading to arguments over words that profit only egos…and sometimes bank accounts. Jesus wandered about, spoke a simple message then left giving no instruction to form into factions and do “Bible studies.” He simply pointed mankind to God and instructed us to love one another.
The truth is….only God knows those that are his. The ABC has become an elite club and its entrant ritual is their baptism. They teach endlessly of the foundation of God but forget what Timothy stated is stamped on the foundation of God. “But the foundation that God has laid is solid. On it is written, “The Lord knows who his people are. 2 Ti. 2” I don’t, you don’t, and they don’t know and to state that they do is simply egotistical. It is comforting to think you belong to such an elite club and have an edge on salvation over all others. It feels good to think you have become “special” and this is also the basis of the formations of gangs but it always inevitably leads to violence against those who question.

Anonymous said...

The point you made about simple truths being dissected and turned into complex factions hit it right on the money for me...

Every bible and study tool I have was given to me by a family member after I came to faith. What was given to me was an old King James Version, a Strong's, and a Dake's annotated reference bible (which is in the authorized kjv trans). So naturally everything I read and learn comes from those. I'm not a kjv only guy - but it's what version was given to me, and what I read through the bible the first time with... So, naturally I prefer it because it's what I'm comfortable with.

When I met a few ABC members all of sudden I needed a Panin Numeric NT, Rotherham trans, New American Standard trans, Stegenga conc, Englishman's conc, and a inter linear Greek English NT on top of what I had already had. So, everything I read in my own bible had to be checked against Panin ect... I couldn't grasp why I had to check what ole Ivan Panin found against simple things I believe God was showing me.

The few folks I met were nice people, don't get me wrong. And I in fact am not trying to condemn them... But, I believe that a person that has come to faith, and is a babe so to speak - can be tripped up and brought into confusion when all the Greek and different translations are being thrown at him/her.

Your replies are much appreciated.